Vatican must show 'courage' against China, suggests US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Sep 30, 2020, 08:47 PM(IST)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Photograph:( AFP )

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During a visit to Rome, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that the Vatican must find the “courage” to confront China.

During a visit to Rome, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that the Vatican must find the “courage” to confront China.

Pompeo is currently in Rome which is being seen by many as part of the campaigning for the upcoming US elections, and a bid to capture Catholic votes.

Pope Francis is not meeting Pompeo because the pontiff does not meet political leaders during periods of election campaigning, a source from the Vatican told AFP.

Also read: Pompeo in tense visit to Vatican as US vote nears

Many believe that the Pope is displeased with Pompeo’s calls to scrap a historic Vatican-China accord. Today, Pompeo spoke at a symposium which was overseen by the US embassy. He reiterated his wish for the Vatican to stand firm against China, a recurring theme in Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.

"Nowhere is religious freedom under assault more than in China,” Pompeo said. "I call on every faith leader to find the courage to confront religious persecution," he added.

Pompeo also said that for the Catholic Church "earthly considerations shouldn't discourage principled stances". A Sino-Vatican agreement in 2018 is set to be renewed. Pompeo had said that the deal is a risk to the church’s “moral authority” due to China’s human rights record. 

Also read: 'Vatican endangers its moral authority': Pompeo on deal with China

After highlighting that "the Holy See reached an agreement with the Chinese Communist Party, hoping to help China's Catholics", US secretary of state Mike Pompeo insisted in an article that the "human rights situation in China has deteriorated severely under the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, especially for religious believers."

"It’s clear that the Sino-Vatican agreement has not shielded Catholics from the Party’s depredations, to say nothing of the Party’s horrific treatment of Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong devotees, and other religious believers," the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said in an article on First Things First.

According to the Reuters news agency, Pope Francis has signed off on the two-year extension of the original pact that took effect in 2018, with the Chinese foreign ministry stating that  "the two sides will continue to maintain close communication and consultation and improve bilateral relations." 

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